Why are you running for this position?
I’ve lived in Prior Lake for nearly 10 years. We’ve made many friends here and have immersed ourselves in city affairs, and many local activities and events. My vision for our city includes continuing to work toward providing excellent services and amenities for its residents at a realistic and manageable cost, and successfully navigating sustainable growth with sound decision-making. We have definite challenges ahead of us, compounded by the exigencies of our COVID-19 situation. We also have opportunities to develop a vibrant downtown and community that will reinforce and remind us why we chose to live here to begin with.
What are the top three issues you would face during your term?
Successfully addressing the ongoing challenges of our COVID-19 situation in a realistic and practical manner that recognizes everyone’s safety and respects the impact on everyone.
Sustainable growth and development that is well thought-out, makes sense, and preserves our environment and quality of life.
Continuing to improve our business climate and working toward a vibrant, improving downtown and business district.
Have you been charged in the past year, or ever been convicted, of a misdemeanor or higher, or been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure?
No, I have never been convicted of a misdemeanor, or higher, nor have I been involved in any kind of a bankruptcy or foreclosure.
How will you keep citizens informed and involved in the happenings of the council?
As an individual council member, I will always make myself available. Collectively, the council must always ask itself if it is doing enough to engage with the public, to make sure its communications with our residents and businesses are much more than merely satisfactory or meeting a bare minimum. We need to encourage city staff to do the same.
Are there any changes you would like to see within the city council or things you feel should remain consistent?
I feel that our council has successfully retrained its perspective on achieving better control of our city’s budget while continuing to provide much-improved services to our residents. I expect our council to continue to improve its communications with the public, to inform our residents of not only significant upcoming decisions that would have a long-term impact well into the future, but also all of the city’s ongoing activities and events. Our upcoming changes to the city’s website are certainly one step in that direction.
Are there actions taken by the city in response to the pandemic you think should have been handled differently?
I applaud the council’s decision to send letters to the governor to allow our stores to re-open with modified, self-imposed safety standards. It was important to strike a different kind of balance. If appropriately modified limitations and restrictions, suggested by our local businesses (and approved by the governor) had then been put in place, those businesses as well as the larger community would have been more fully invested in observing and self-enforcing those rules — and the impact on our businesses might have been lessened. People’s health and protection are important, but the sustainability of our businesses and people’s livelihoods are, too.
How important is protecting property owners’ rights to you as a city council member?
As with every issue that comes before the council, when questions about annexation must be addressed, I will always put the interests of the City of Prior Lake first. As a city council member, that is my duty and my obligation. There will always be competing interests, but for a council member, our city’s interests are first and foremost.
Do you feel the proposed private street utility surcharge is necessary? Why or why not?
Yes. This issue affects all taxpayers in Prior Lake, not just those whose properties are along private streets. Everyone needs to pay their fair share of the cost of benefiting from the repair and reconstruction of our streets. Private street homeowners cannot be assessed for the costs of street replacement. Some homeowners associations with private streets may be collecting funds to pay for this; many don’t. Not all private streets are part of any kind of association. A surcharge is an efficient mechanism for collecting funds for a responsible share of those costs; other property owners would otherwise be subsidizing those costs.